US Interim Ambassador Wilson Meets with Presidential Candidates

Georgia has been without an ambassador from the United States since March when Ambassador Ian Kelly's two-and-a-half-year term ended. 

The White House has still not appointed a new ambassador, but Ross Wilson, former ambassador to Turkey (2005-2008) and Azerbaijan (2000-2003) is now at the embassy in Tbilisi as interim ambassador - officially chargé d’affaires, ad interim. His term began on November 8.

Wilson has served 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, working at the U.S. embassies in Moscow and Prague and served as Consulate General in Melbourne, in addition to his ambassadorships. 

In Washington, Wilson was Principal Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union in 1997-2000.  He also served as Deputy Executive Secretary of the State Department for Secretaries Baker, Eagleburger, and Christopher; Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick; Chief US Negotiator for the Free Trade Area of the Americas while on detail to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; and in the State Department’s offices dealing with the USSR and Egypt.  In 2010-2014, Ambassador Wilson was Director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, where he led the Council’s work on the former Soviet states, Turkey, and regional energy issues.

Wilson was most recently a distinguished senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, visiting lecturer in international affairs at George Washington University, chairman of the board of the Institute of Turkish Studies, and chair-elect of the board of Global Minnesota.  He is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Wilson's first big public meeting with a Georgian government official was on November 9, the day after he arrived, with Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani.

On November 16, Wilson met with the candidates for the upcoming presidential run-off elections - Salome Zurabishvili and Grigol Vashadze. 

After the meeting, he spoke to the press, saying he was pleased with the meeting, and that they discussed "the upcoming election and broader political situation." He noted that the meetings "were a welcome opportunity to hear their perspectives and ideas for the country.  During the meetings, I underscored our support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the importance of its democratic institutions for the country’s success.  In this election period, we urge all sides to refrain from harsh rhetoric and polarizing attacks and engage in calmer, constructive dialog that will foster respect for democratic values, civil society, and stability."


By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: US Embassy in Georgia

20 November 2018 11:03